2019–20 NFL playoffs
|Dates||January 4 – February 2, 2020|
|Super Bowl LIV site|
|Defending champions||New England Patriots|
For the first time since 2010–11, the New England Patriots did not appear in the AFC Championship Game, and for the first time since 2015–16, they will not play in the Super Bowl as they were eliminated in the Wild Card round.
- 1 Participants
- 2 Schedule
- 3 Wild Card playoffs
- 4 Divisional playoffs
- 5 Conference Championships
- 6 Super Bowl LIV: San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- 7 Television coverage
- 8 References
Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams (the top two non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) qualified for the playoffs. The four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, and the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, and there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference then receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5, or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4, or 5). The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference.
|1||Baltimore Ravens (North winner)||San Francisco 49ers (West winner)|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs (West winner)||Green Bay Packers (North winner)|
|3||New England Patriots (East winner)||New Orleans Saints (South winner)|
|4||Houston Texans (South winner)||Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)|
|5||Buffalo Bills (wild card)||Seattle Seahawks (wild card)|
|6||Tennessee Titans (wild card)||Minnesota Vikings (wild card)|
|Jan. 5 – Lincoln Financial Field||Jan. 12 – Lambeau Field|
|4||Philadelphia||9||Jan. 19 – Levi's Stadium|
|Jan. 5 – Mercedes-Benz Superdome||2||Green Bay||20|
|Jan. 11 – Levi's Stadium|
|3||New Orleans||20||Feb. 2 – Hard Rock Stadium|
|Wild card playoffs|
|Jan. 4 – Gillette Stadium||N1||San Francisco|
|Jan. 11 – M&T Bank Stadium|
|6||Tennessee||20||Super Bowl LIV|
|3||New England||13||Jan. 19 – Arrowhead Stadium|
|Jan. 4 – NRG Stadium||6||Tennessee||24|
|Jan. 12 – Arrowhead Stadium|
* Indicates overtime victory
The league announced on May 22, 2019, that the two divisional games played on the Sunday would be moved back from their traditional 1:00 p.m. (ET) and 4:30 p.m. (ET) start times to 3:05 p.m. (ET) and 6:40 p.m. (ET), respectively, matching the conference championship games.
For the first time since the 2015–16 NFL playoffs, both AFC wild card games were scheduled for the Saturday, and both NFC wild card games were scheduled for the Sunday (instead of having a game from each conference on each day as in previous years).
|Away team||Score||Home team||Date||Kickoff
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Buffalo Bills||19–22 (OT)||Houston Texans||January 4, 2020||4:35 p.m.||ABC/ESPN|
|Tennessee Titans||20–13||New England Patriots||January 4, 2020||8:25 p.m.||CBS|
|Minnesota Vikings||26–20 (OT)||New Orleans Saints||January 5, 2020||1:05 p.m.||Fox|
|Seattle Seahawks||17–9||Philadelphia Eagles||January 5, 2020||4:45 p.m.||NBC|
|Minnesota Vikings||10–27||San Francisco 49ers||January 11, 2020||4:35 p.m.||NBC|
|Tennessee Titans||28–12||Baltimore Ravens||January 11, 2020||8:15 p.m.||CBS|
|Houston Texans||31–51||Kansas City Chiefs||January 12, 2020||3:05 p.m.|
|Seattle Seahawks||23–28||Green Bay Packers||January 12, 2020||6:40 p.m.||Fox|
|Tennessee Titans||24–35||Kansas City Chiefs||January 19, 2020||3:05 p.m.||CBS|
|Green Bay Packers||20–37||San Francisco 49ers||January 19, 2020||6:40 p.m.||Fox|
|Super Bowl LIV|
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
|San Francisco 49ers||Kansas City Chiefs||February 2, 2020||6:30 p.m.||Fox|
Wild Card playoffs
Saturday, January 4, 2020
AFC: Houston Texans 22, Buffalo Bills 19 (OT)
Houston rallied back from a 16–0 third-quarter deficit – having been held to 62 total yards in the first half – to win with 3:20 remaining in overtime on Ka'imi Fairbairn's 28-yard field goal, for Buffalo's 6th consecutive playoff loss since their last win in December 1995.
On the opening drive of the game, Bills quarterback Josh Allen rushed for 42 yards – the Bills' longest rush of the season – and then caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from receiver John Brown on a trick play to put Buffalo up 7–0. In the second quarter, Devin Singletary rushed for an 18-yard gain and Allen completed a 28-yard pass to Brown as the Bills drove 69 yards in 11 plays to go up 10–0 on Stephen Hauschka's 40-yard field goal. Then after a punt, Buffalo drove 74 yards in 15 plays to score on a second 40-yard field goal from Hauschka, giving them a 13–0 lead at halftime.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins fumbled the ball while being tackled by Tre'Davious White, and Tremaine Edmunds recovered it on the Texans' 38-yard line. Buffalo then drove to the 12-yard line, but ended up settling for Hauschka's third field goal after Allen was sacked on third down by J. J. Watt, giving them a 16–0 lead. This time, Houston managed to respond, moving the ball 75 yards in 9 plays and scoring on a 20-yard touchdown run from quarterback Deshaun Watson; Watson also scored the ensuing two-point conversion to make the score 16–8. On the Bills' ensuing drive, linebacker Whitney Mercilus forced a fumble while sacking Allen, which Jacob Martin recovered for the Texans at midfield with 14:18 remaining. Watson then completed a 20-yard pass to Kenny Stills that set up Fairbairn's 41-yard field goal, cutting the score to 16–11.
After Buffalo punted on their next drive, Watson completed a 41-yard pass – on the drive's second play – to Hopkins on the Buffalo 28-yard line, and later connected with tight end Darren Fells for 14 yards to bring up first and goal from the 1-yard line. Running back Carlos Hyde fumbled a pitch from Watson, but although he recovered the ball, he was forced out of bounds for a 4-yard loss. On the next play, he caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Watson. Hopkins caught Watson's pass for a two-point conversion, giving Houston their first lead at 19–16 with 4:42 remaining. Buffalo started out their next drive with a 38-yard completion from Allen to Singletary, and soon found themselves with a first down on the Texans' 25-yard line. After an incompletion, Frank Gore was dropped by Mike Adams for a 3-yard loss and then Allen was flagged for intentional grounding, pushing the team all the way back to the 42-yard line. Allen was sacked for a 19-yard loss by Martin on fourth-and-27, with a turnover on downs putting the Texans at Buffalo's 39-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. The Bills' defense managed to pin the Texans down, with Watson being stopped short by Star Lotulelei on fourth-and-1. Gaining the ball with 1:16 left, Allen led Buffalo 41 yards in 11 plays, including a 20-yard run by Allen, to score on Hauschka's 47-yard field goal, sending the game to overtime at 19–19.
After both teams punted on their first drive of overtime – Buffalo had to punt after a penalty pushed them out of field goal range – Houston drove 73 yards in 9 plays for the game-winning score; the key play of the drive was an 18-yard completion from Watson to running back Duke Johnson on third-and-18 from the Texans' 19-yard line. Then Watson rushed for 5 yards, Stills caught a pass for 10 yards, and Hyde rushed 4 yards to the Bills' 44-yard line. On the next play, Watson evaded a sack attempt by two Buffalo defenders and fired a short pass to reserve running back Taiwan Jones, who took off for a 34-yard gain to Buffalo's 10-yard line. Fairbairn then kicked a 28-yard field goal to give Houston the victory.
Watson completed 20 of 25 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 55 yards and a touchdown; Hopkins caught 6 passes for 90 yards. Allen completed 24 of 46 passes for 264 yards, while also rushing for 92 yards and catching a 16-yard touchdown pass. Singletary rushed for 58 yards and caught 6 passes for 76 yards. On the defense, Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano recorded 12 tackles (8 solo), while defensive end Trent Murphy had 6 tackles (4 solo) and 2 sacks.
AFC: Tennessee Titans 20, New England Patriots 13
Tennessee running back Derrick Henry accounted for 204 of the Titans' 272 total offensive yards, including 34 carries for 182 yards and a touchdown as he led his team to victory as the Patriots failed to win a playoff game in a season for the first time since 2010. As a result, New England's streak of AFC Championship appearances ended at eight.
New England took the opening kickoff and drove 57 yards in 8 plays, the longest a 21-yard completion from Tom Brady to tight end Benjamin Watson. Nick Folk finished the drive with a 36-yard field goal to put the Patriots up 3–0. Tennessee struck back, with Henry carrying the ball 6 times for 44 yards on a 75-yard drive, that gave the team a 7–3 lead with Ryan Tannehill's 12-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Firkser, the first playoff touchdown scored by a Harvard University graduate. New England then moved the ball 75 yards in 10 plays, featuring a 25-yard run by Sony Michel. Receiver Julian Edelman finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run – his first such touchdown – on an end around play on the first play of the second quarter, giving the Patriots a 10–7 lead. Later on, Patriots receiver Mohamed Sanu returned a punt 23 yards to the Titans' 47-yard line, and the team drove on to a first and goal on the 1-yard line. The Titans held out on the goal line; linebacker Rashaan Evans dropped Michel for a 1-yard loss on first down, Rex Burkhead was tackled on the 1-yard line by Evans and DaQuan Jones on second down and Evans tackled Michel for a 2-yard loss on third down. The Patriots took a 13–7 lead on Folk's 21-yard field goal with 2:16 left in the half. Henry took off for a 29-yard gain on the first play of the team's ensuing drive, before picking up 23 more yards with his next three carries after an incompletion. Henry then ran a screen pass 22 yards to the Patriots' 1-yard line, ultimately converting a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Titans a 14–13 halftime lead.
This would turn out to be the last offensive score of the game, as both teams combined for a total of 9 punts in the second half. New England got a mild scoring chance when Duron Harmon intercepted a pass from Tannehill – who finished with 72 passing yards – at New England's 41-yard line, but the offense could only move the ball to Tennessee's 47-yard line before being forced to punt. In the final minute of the game, Tennessee punter Brett Kern's 58-yard kick pinned the Patriots back at their own 1-yard line. On the next play, Titans defensive back Logan Ryan, who formerly played for New England, intercepted Brady's pass and returned it for a 9-yard touchdown, making the final score 20–13 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
Sunday, January 5, 2020
NFC: Minnesota Vikings 26, New Orleans Saints 20 (OT)
Despite fumbling the ball on the second play of the game, Adam Thielen ultimately led the Vikings to victory with 7 receptions for 129 yards, including a 43-yard catch in overtime that set up the game winning score from tight end Kyle Rudolph, giving the Vikings their first playoff win on the road since January 2005.
Janoris Jenkins tackled Thielen to force the ball loose, and Vonn Bell recovered it for the Saints, returning it 6 yards to the Minnesota 37-yard line. New Orleans then drove to third-and-goal from the 4-yard line before Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter's shared sack on Drew Brees forced them to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Wil Lutz, making the score 3–0. Minnesota struck back with an 11-play, 50-yard drive, including a 16-yard run on an end around by receiver Alexander Mattison, to tie the game on Dan Bailey's 43-yard field goal. Midway into the second quarter, New Orleans drove 70 yards in four plays, featuring a 50-yard completion from reserve quarterback Taysom Hill to Deonte Harris. Alvin Kamara gave the Saints a 10–3 lead with a 4-yard touchdown run on the next play. The Vikings responded, with Dalvin Cook rushing 4 times for 31 yards and catching a 22-yard pass on a 13-play, 72-yard drive that ended with Bailey's 21-yard field goal, making the score 10–6. On the third play of the Saints' next drive, safety Anthony Harris intercepted a pass from Brees and returned it 30 yards to the New Orleans 45-yard line. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins went on to complete two passes to Thielen for gains of 19 and 13 yards as the team drove to a 13–10 lead on Cook's 5-yard touchdown run, with just 23 seconds left in the half. Deonte Harris returned the kickoff 54 yards to the Vikings' 45-yard line, which was followed with a 20-yard pass from Brees to Michael Thomas. Lutz attempted a 43-yard field goal, but this was missed to the right.
After the first three drives of the third quarter ended in punts, Minnesota drove 54 yards in 8 plays, the longest being a 34-yard catch by Thielen. Cook finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings ahead 20–10. After a few more punts, New Orleans opened the fourth quarter with an eight-play, 85-yard drive in which Brees completed two 14-yard passes to tight end Jared Cook and a 18-yard pass to Ted Ginn Jr. before finding Hill in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown, cutting their deficit to 20–17. After a punt, the Saints drove to the Vikings' 20-yard line, only to have Brees fumble the ball while being sacked by Hunter; this was recovered by defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes. After the Saints' defense forced the Vikings to punt after three plays, Brees completed five consecutive passes for 44 yards in the last 2 minutes to set up Lutz's 49-yard field goal, forcing overtime at 20–20. The Vikings took the opening kickoff in overtime and proceeded to drive 75 yards in 9 plays for the game winning score. After 3 carries for 20 yards by Cook and a 10-yard catch by Stefon Diggs, Cousins completed a 43-yard pass to Thielen, to move the ball to the Saints' 2-yard line. After losing two yards on a pair of carries by Cook, Cousins found Rudolph for a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings the victory, and record his first playoff win.
For the Vikings, Cousins completed 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown, and Cook rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching 3 passes for 36 yards. For the Saints, Brees finished the day 26-for-33 for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Deonte Harris had 227 total yards – a 50-yard reception, 133 yards from 3 kickoff returns and 44 yards from 4 punt returns. Hill became the first player to record at least 50 passing yards, 50 rushing yards and 25 receiving yards in a playoff game.
NFC: Seattle Seahawks 17, Philadelphia Eagles 9
The Eagles came into the game with five members of their practice squad from earlier in the season starting on offense, and they were unable to contain the Seahawks, especially after defensive end Jadeveon Clowney knocked Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game with a concussion in the first quarter. The Seahawks would go on to outgain the Eagles in yards 382–282, and hold on to win and advance to the Divisional round for the first time since 2016.
Seattle got a scoring opportunity on their second drive after an unnecessary roughness penalty on Eagles defensive back Craig James for tackling the Seahawks' punt returner after a fair catch had been called. From their own 46-yard line, the Seahawks then drove to the Eagles' 17-yard line, but Jason Myers' 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked. The next time Seattle got the ball, they drove 51 yards in 10 plays, the longest being DK Metcalf's 24-yard reception; Myers finished the drive with a 49-yard field goal to give the team a 3–0 lead. In the second quarter, Eagles backup quarterback Josh McCown – replacing Carson Wentz, who left the game in the first quarter with a head injury – led the team 64 yards in 13 plays to tie the score on a 46-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. On the next drive, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed passes to Metcalf and David Moore for gains of 26 yards and 38 yards respectively, as the team drove 77 yards in 9 plays. On first and goal from the 5-yard line, Marshawn Lynch fought his way through multiple Eagles defenders, and muscled his way into the end zone, to give Seattle a 10–3 lead at halftime.
Philadelphia took the second half kickoff and drove 52 yards in seven plays, including McCown's 32-yard completion to tight end Zach Ertz, ultimately adding three points on Elliott's 26-yard field goal. On Seattle's next drive, Wilson completed a 20-yard pass to Lynch and followed it up with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Metcalf, giving Seattle a 17–6 lead. McCown responded by completing three passes for 49 yards and rushing for 4 yards, on a 55-yard drive that ended with Elliott's third field goal, that cut the Eagles' deficit to 17–9. The Eagles had two drives in the fourth quarter, both of which resulted in turnovers on downs: first they drove to the Seattle 24-yard line, only to lose the ball on a fourth down incompletion, and in the second instance, Jadeveon Clowney sacked McCown on fourth down, enabling Seattle's offense to run out the rest of the clock.
Wilson completed 18 of 30 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 45 yards. Metcalf caught seven passes for 160 yards – the most receiving yards by a rookie in a Super Bowl-era playoff game – and a touchdown. The Eagles had 282 yards of total offense, with McCown – who, at age 40, became the oldest quarterback to make his first appearance in an NFL playoff game – finishing 18-for-24 and passing for 174 yards.
Saturday, January 11, 2020
NFC: San Francisco 49ers 27, Minnesota Vikings 10
After forcing Minnesota to punt on their opening drive, the 49ers drove 61 yards in eight plays, featuring a pair of completions from Jimmy Garoppolo to Emmanuel Sanders for gains of 22 and 11 yards – Sanders' only receptions of the game. Garoppolo, starting in the playoffs for the first time, ended the possession with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne that put the 49ers up 7–0. Minnesota responded by moving then ball 79 yards in seven plays to tie the score with Kirk Cousins' 41-yard touchdown completion to Stefon Diggs. In the second quarter, San Francisco took advantage of Richie James' 18-yard punt return that gave them a first down on the Vikings' 47-yard line. Moving the ball 53 yards in 10 plays, including an 18-yard catch by Deebo Samuel, the team took a 14–7 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Tevin Coleman. Following a Minnesota punt, Garoppolo threw a pass that was intercepted by linebacker Eric Kendricks, who returned it 4 yards to the 49ers' 29-yard line. This set up Dan Bailey's 29-yard field goal with 31 seconds left on the clock, making the score 14–10 at halftime.
On the second half kickoff, Vikings defender Mike Boone was flagged for unnecessary roughness while tackling James, turning James' 22-yard return into a 37-yard gain on the 49ers' 37-yard line. From there, San Francisco drove 46 yards, including a 21-yard catch by Bourne, to take a 17–10 lead on Robbie Gould's 35-yard field goal. Then on the third play of the Vikings' next drive, cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted Cousins and returned the ball 13 yards, giving San Francisco the ball on the Vikings' 44-yard line. Coleman went on to carry the ball on six of the next eight plays, picking up 36 of the drive's 44 yards, on the way to a 2-yard touchdown run that gave the 49ers a 24–10 lead. Later in the quarter, Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels muffed Mitch Wishnowsky's 54-yard punt and Raheem Mostert recovered for San Francisco on the Vikings' 10-yard line. Three plays later, Gould's 21-yard field goal increased the 49ers' lead to 27–10, with less than a minute left in the third quarter. This turned out to be the last score of the game, as the Vikings' last 4 drives would result in two punts and two turnovers on downs.
Coleman was the top offensive performer for San Francisco, with 22 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns. 49ers rookie lineman Nick Bosa had 6 tackles and 2 sacks in his playoff debut. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 1,135 yards during the season, was held to just 18 yards on 9 carries. Minnesota running back Ameer Abdullah had 5 kickoff returns for 148 yards.
AFC: Tennessee Titans 28, Baltimore Ravens 12
Tennessee stunned the heavily favored Ravens, who had the NFL's best record and had finished the year as the league's top scoring team, while also setting a new record for rushing yards in a season. Once again, Titans running back Derrick Henry accounted for most of the Tennessee offense, accounting for 205 of their 300 total yards. Meanwhile, Baltimore racked up 530 yards, but their three turnovers and four failed fourth-down conversion attempts proved too much to overcome. As a result, Baltimore became the first number 1 seed in the playoffs to lose to the number 6 seed since the New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets in 2010.
On the Ravens' first drive of the game, Lamar Jackson threw a pass that bounced off the hands of Mark Andrews and was intercepted by safety Kevin Byard, who returned it 31 yards, with an unnecessary roughness penalty against Jackson for a horse-collar tackle adding another 15 yards and giving Tennessee a first down on the Ravens' 35-yard line. Henry then carried the ball 4 times for 22 yards on an 8-play drive that ended with Ryan Tannehill's 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jonnu Smith, who made a leaping one-handed catch in the back of the end zone. After getting the ball back, Baltimore drove to a fourth-and-1 on their own 45-yard line. Jackson attempted to convert with a quarterback sneak, but he was tackled by linebacker David Long Jr. for no gain on the last play of the first quarter. On the next play, Tannehill gave the team a 14–0 lead with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Kalif Raymond. Following a punt from each team, Jackson completed a 30-yard pass to Marquise Brown and a 16-yard pass to Andrews, setting up Justin Tucker's 49-yard field goal to make the score 14–3. Then after a Titans punt, Jackson completed a 26-yard pass to Seth Roberts, as well as two completions to Brown for gains of 16 yards and 38 yards on a 91-yard drive. Tucker finished it off with a 22-yard field goal as time expired in the half, making the score 14–6 at halftime.
Baltimore took the second half kickoff and drove to a fourth-and-1 on the Titans' 18-yard line. Jackson again tried to convert with a run, but was stopped for no gain by linebacker Harold Landry. Two plays later on third-and-1, Henry took a handoff through the middle and ran for a 66-yard gain, to the Ravens' 6-yard line. Then when faced with third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Henry took a direct snap out of wildcat formation and threw a jump pass to Corey Davis for a touchdown. This gave Tennessee a 21–6 lead and made Henry the first running back to throw a touchdown pass in the postseason since Allen Rice in the 1987 season. On the first play of the Ravens' next possession, defensive end Jurrell Casey forced a fumble while sacking Jackson, which Jeffery Simmons recovered for Tennessee on the Baltimore 20-yard line. From there, the Titans drove to a 28–6 lead, scoring on a 6-play drive that ended with Tannehill's 1-yard touchdown run. Baltimore responded with a drive to the Titans' 36-yard line, only to lose the ball again with a Jackson pass that was intercepted by safety Kenny Vaccaro. After forcing Tennessee to punt, the Ravens finally managed to score a touchdown, moving the ball 83 yards in 10 plays, the longest a 27-yard run by Jackson. Jackson finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst, but his subsequent two-point conversion pass was incomplete, keeping the score at 28–12. Tennessee's defense then pinned down Baltimore for the rest of the game, forcing a turnover on downs on the Ravens' final two possessions.
Henry finished the game with 30 carries for 195 yards, while also catching two passes for 7 yards and throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass. He became the first player to rush for over 180 yards twice in the same postseason. Tannehill completed 7 of 14 pass attempts for 88 yards, and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 13 yards and a touchdown; Casey had four tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Jackson completed 31 of 59 passes for 365 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions, while also rushing 20 times for 143 yards. This made him the first quarterback to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in a playoff game. His top receiver was Brown, who caught seven passes for 126 yards.
Sunday, January 12, 2020
On May 22, 2019, the league announced that the divisional round games played on the Sunday would be moved from their traditional 1:00 p.m. (ET) and 4:30 p.m. (ET) start times to 3:00 p.m. (ET) and 6:30 p.m. (ET), respectively. Similar to the 2002 changes made to the start times of the Conference championship games, this will allow teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones to play in the early Sunday game at a reasonable hour instead of at 11:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. local time.
AFC: Kansas City Chiefs 51, Houston Texans 31
After falling behind 24–0, Kansas City suddenly buried the Texans with an NFL playoff record 7 consecutive touchdowns and a field goal over their next eight drives, starting with a shocking 28-point second quarter.
On the opening possession, Houston mounted a six-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Deshaun Watson’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on third-and-1, giving the Texans an early 7–0 lead. The Chiefs then went three-and-out on their first drive, with tight end Travis Kelce dropping a potential first down pass on third down. Dustin Colquitt’s ensuing punt was blocked by Barkevious Mingo and recovered by Lonnie Johnson Jr., who returned it 10 yards for a touchdown that put the Texans up 14–0 less than five minutes into the game.
After both teams punted on their next drives, Chiefs returner Tyreek Hill muffed the ball inside his own 10-yard line which was recovered by Keion Crossen for Houston. Two plays later, Watson found tight end Darren Fells in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown and a 21–0 lead late in the first quarter.
The next time Houston got the ball, they drove 48 yards in nine plays to a fourth-and-inches on the Chiefs 13-yard line. Rather then risk a conversion, the Texans settled for Ka'imi Fairbairn's 31-yard field goal to go up by 24 four minutes into the second quarter. However, this would be the extent of their success, as they went on to be outscored 51–7 for the rest of the game. First,Mecole Hardman returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to Houston’s 42-yard line. Patrick Mahomes then threw a 25-yard pass to Kelce to get in the red zone before hitting running back Damien Williams for a 17-yard touchdown. After Houston went three-and-out on their next drive, they attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-4 with a direct snap to Justin Reid who was tackled by Daniel Sorensen two yards short, giving Kansas City the ball at the Texans 33. Johnson was then called for pass interference to put the ball at the five before Mahomes hit Kelce in the end zone to cut the deficit to 10. On the ensuing kickoff, DeAndre Carter fumbled the ball due to a hit by Sorenson, and it went right into the arms of Kansas City's Darwin Thompson, who returned it to the Houston 6. Mahomes then threw his third touchdown pass in less than four minutes, and his second to Kelce, to make the score 24–21.
Taking possession at their own 10 with 2:47 left in the quarter, the Chiefs went on a 90-yard drive that included another pass interference on Johnson, while Mahomes rushed twice for 35 yards and completed a pair of 20-yard passes to Hill and Kelce. Finally, with 44 seconds left in the half, Mahomes threw another five-yard touchdown to Kelce to give the Chiefs their first lead of the game, 28–24. Mahomes’ four touchdown passes in the second quarter tied an NFL postseason record set by Doug Williams in Super Bowl XXII. Fairbairn missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired in the half as the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to fall behind by as many as 20 points in the first half but still lead at halftime.
The Chiefs would extend their lead on the opening possession of the third quarter, going 85 yards in seven plays, the longest a 48-yard catch by Sammy Watkins. Williams ran the ball in from the goal-line, increasing their lead to 34–24 after Harrison Butker missed the extra point. After forcing another Texans punt, the Chiefs took advantage of another pass interference penalty against Houston and a 28-yard completion from Mahomes to Kelce, scoring on their sixth straight possession with another Williams touchdown run to give them a 41–24 lead with 4:39 left in the quarter. Houston finally snapped Kansas City’s 41-point run when Watson completed 4 passes for 80 yards and finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, making the score 41–31 with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
Kansas City would make it seven touchdowns in a row, setting a new postseason record, on a drive that included a 23-yard pass to Kelce and a 28-yard completion to Watkins, putting the ball at the Houston 8. Mahomes then found Blake Bell in the end zone, making the score 48–31. On Houston's next drive, they turned the ball over on downs at the Chiefs 42. A pair of runs by Williams for gains of 11 and 26 yard to set up Butker's 24-yard field goal with 8:06 left to put Kansas City up by 20. Houston then turned the ball over on downs on their final two possessions, the last coming when Frank Clark sacked Watson for a 17-yard loss on fourth-and-8 from the Kansas City 8-yard line.
Mahomes finished the game 23/35 for 321 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. He was also the leading rusher with 53 yards on seven carries. Kelce had 10 catches for 134 yards and three touchdowns, tying a Super Bowl-era postseason record. Hardman had six kickoff returns for 142 yards. Williams rushed for 47 yards, caught two passes for 21 yards, and scored three touchdowns. Watson threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns, while DeAndre Hopkins had 118 yards on nine catches. Kansas City's 24-point comeback was the fourth largest in postseason history.
NFC: Green Bay Packers 28, Seattle Seahawks 23
Despite being nearly even in total yards (375–344) and both sides avoiding turnovers, the Packers built a 21–3 halftime lead and withstood a Seattle second-half comeback to earn their third trip to the NFC title game under quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay got the ball first and on their first play, Aaron Jones ran for a 23-yard gain to the Packers 48-yard line, beginning a drive that culminated with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams. Later in the quarter, Seattle receiver David Moore's 10-yard punt return gave the Seahawks a first down on their own 42. Russell Wilson's subsequent 28-yard completion to Tyler Lockett set up a 45-yard field goal by Jason Myers that made the score 7–3.
Rodgers then completed 4/5 passes for 52 yards on a nine-play, 75-yard drive. Jones finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Green Bay a 14–3 lead in the second quarter. Then, after Myers missed a 50-yard field goal attempt, the Packers got the ball on their own 40. Receiver Tyler Ervin opened the drive with an 18-yard run on an end around play. Nine plays later, Jones finished the drive with his second 1-yard touchdown run, increasing Green Bay's lead to 21–3 with 1:30 left in the half.
On the opening drive of the second half, Wilson ran for a 24-yard gain and completed a 24-yard pass to DK Metcalf as the Seahawks drove 69 yards in 10 plays to score on Marshawn Lynch's 1-yard touchdown run, cutting their deficit to 21–10. However, Green Bay stormed right back in just five plays, as Rodgers completed a 27-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham before throwing the ball to Adams for a 40-yard score, putting them back up at 28–10. Seattle responded with Wilson completing 5/6 passes for 48 yards and rushing four times for 26 on the way to a 28–17 score on his 7-yard touchdown pass to Lockett with 39 seconds left in the quarter.
After a Green Bay punt, Wilson completed four consecutive passes for 68 yards on the way to a 1-yard touchdown run by Lynch, making the score 28–23 after a failed two-point conversion try. But the next time they got the ball, Seattle had to punt with 2:41 left on the clock. Green Bay was able to run out the time with their ensuing possession, picking up two key first downs on third down completions. When faced with third-and-8 after two plays, Rodgers completed a 32-yard pass to Adams. Then when faced with third-and-9, Rodgers' 9-yard pass to Graham picked a first down that enabled the team to run out the rest of the clock.
Rodgers completed 16/27 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 14 yards. Adams caught eight passes for 160 yards and two scores. Green Bay defensive ends Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith each had two sacks. Wilson finished the day 21/31 for 277 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 64 yards. Lockett was his top target, with nine receptions for 136 yards and a score.
- As per an annual rotation used by the NFL since 1997 and made official in 2002, the AFC Championship Game will be the first game played on January 19 at 3:05 p.m. EST, followed by the NFC Championship Game at 6:40 p.m. EST.
Sunday, January 19, 2020
AFC Championship Game: Kansas City Chiefs 35, Tennessee Titans 24
at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
For the second week in a row, Kansas City came back from a deficit to defeat a team that had beaten them in the regular season, this time recovering from an early 10–0 hole to earn their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years. The Chiefs outgained Tennessee in total yards 404–295, while holding their explosive running back Derrick Henry to just 61 yards from scrimmage, with negative yardage in the second half.
Tennessee took the opening kickoff and converted Ryan Tannehill's 37-yard completion to A. J. Brown into a 30-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. Kansas City went three-and-out on their first drive, and Kalif Raymond returned their punt 9 yards to the Titans 42-yard line. Tennessee then drove 48 yards in 9 plays, including a 3-yard catch by Adam Humphries on fourth-and-2. On the next play, Tannehill completed a 22-yard pass to Jonnu Smith on the Chiefs 4-yard line. Then Henry took a snap from wildcat formation and ran into the end zone for a 4-yard score, giving Tennessee a 10–0 lead. This time the Chiefs were able to respond, driving 69 yards in 10 plays, the longest a 26-yard completion from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill. Hill's 8-yard touchdown catch on the last play made the score 10–7 with 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Titans struck back with a 15-play, 74-yard drive that took 9:07 off the clock. Tannehill finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Dennis Kelly on a tackle-eligible play that put the team back up by 10 points. Mecole Hardman returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to his own 35-yard line. From there, Kansas City drove 65 yards in 5 plays, the longest a 24-yard completion from Mahomes to Demarcus Robinson. On the last play, Mahomes threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Hill, cutting their deficit to 17–14. Then after a punt, Mahomes completed 4 passes for 41 yards and rushed for 7 before taking off for a 27-yard touchdown run in which he evaded five Titans players on the way to the end zone. This gave the Chiefs a 21–17 lead with 23 seconds left in the half.
After a pair of punts to start the second half, Kansas City drove 73 yards in 13 plays to go up 28–17 on Damien Williams' 3-yard touchdown run. On their next drive, the Chiefs put the game completely out of reach with Mahomes' 60-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins, giving them a 35–17 lead with 7:44 left on the clock. Tennessee responded by driving 80 yards in 8 plays, including a fake punt in which punter Brett Kern threw a 28-yard pass to Amani Hooker. Tannehill finished the drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Firkser, making the final score 35–24.
Mahomes completed 23/35 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns, while also leading Kansas City in rushing with eight carries for 53 yards and a score. Watkins caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Tannehill completed 21/31 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 11 yards.
NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 49ers 37, Green Bay Packers 20
at Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
San Francisco lost starting running back Tevin Coleman to injury for most of the game, but this proved to be a non-issue as Raheem Mostert ran wild over the Packers with a franchise record 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns, both the second highest totals in NFL postseason history.
On the 49ers second possession of the game, Jimmy Garoppolo completed a pair of passes to Deebo Samuel for gains of 16 and 30 yards before Mostert stormed into the end zone on a 36-yard touchdown run. Green Bay was soon forced to punt, and Richie James returned it 26 yards to the San Francisco 49-yard line, setting up Robbie Gould's 54-yard field goal to give the team a 10–0 lead.
In the second quarter, a sack by K'Waun Williams forced a fumble. Green Bay recovered the ball, but lost 10 yards and had to punt from their own 14. J. K. Scott's 23-yard kick gave the 49ers great field position on the Packers 37. San Francisco then drove 37 yards in 6 plays to take a 17–0 lead on Mostert's 9-yard touchdown run. The Packers responded with a drive to the 49ers 25-yard line, only to lose the ball when quarterback Aaron Rodgers fumbled a snap, which was recovered by San Francisco lineman DeForest Buckner. The 49ers went on to drive 60 yards in 8 plays, including a 34-yard burst from Mostert. Gould finished the drive with a 27-yard field goal, increasing the team's lead to 20–0 after the two minute warning. Then Rodgers threw a pass that was intercepted by Emmanuel Moseley, who returned it 9 yards to the Green Bay 30-yard line. Mostert then took the ball to the end zone with three straight carries, the last an 18-yard touchdown run that gave San Francisco a 27–0 lead with 16 seconds left in the second quarter.
Green Bay managed to cut the score to 27–7 on the opening drive of the second half, moving the ball 80 yards in 11 plays. Rogers completed 9/10 passes for 75 yards on the drive, the last a 9-yard touchdown throw to Aaron Jones. But the 49ers stormed right back, with a pair of runs by Samuel for gains of 11 and 32 yards aiding a seven-play, 79-yard drive that ended on Mostert's 22-yard touchdown run. This gave the 49ers a 34–7 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. Green Bay responded by going 80 yards in 10 plays, including Rodgers' 4-yard pass to Allen Lazard on fourth-and-2, and a 42-yard completion from Rodgers to tight end Jimmy Graham. On the next play, Jones ran for a touchdown that made the score 34–13 after a failed two-point conversion attempt. Then after a punt, Rodgers completed a 65-yard pass to Davante Adams on the 49ers 22-yard line. Three plays later, his 8-yard touchdown pass to Jace Sternberger made the score 34–20 with just under six minutes left in the game. However, San Francisco crushed any hope of a comeback with their ensuing 10-play, 44-yard drive, starting with Garoppolo's 19-yard completion to George Kittle. Gould completed the scoring with a 42-yard field goal to put the 49ers up 37–20 with 3:36 to play, before Richard Sherman intercepted a pass from Rodgers that enabled San Francisco to run out the rest of the clock and earn the franchise's seventh trip to the Super Bowl.
Mostert had 29 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns, along with two receptions for 9 yards. Garoppolo set an NFC championship record for fewest pass attempts, completing 6/8 passes for 77 yards. Williams had seven solo tackles and a sack. Rodgers completed 31/39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Adams had nine receptions for 138 yards.
Super Bowl LIV: San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
This will be the first time the Chiefs and 49ers have faced each other in the Super Bowl. Their last regular season meeting ended in a Chiefs victory 38–27, on September 23, 2018 in Arrowhead Stadium. The 49ers lead the all time series 7–6.
All playoff games are televised nationally on network television.
ESPN produced coverage of the Saturday afternoon Wild Card game for the sixth consecutive season, and ESPN simulcasted it on ABC for the fifth consecutive season. For the second straight season, NBC aired the late afternoon Sunday Wild Card game as a lead-in to its coverage of the Golden Globe Awards. CBS then televised one of the AFC Wild Card Games, and Fox had one of the NFC Wild Card games. Coverage of the NFC Divisional games were split between Fox and NBC. CBS had exclusive coverage of both AFC Divisional games and the AFC Championship Game. Fox had exclusive coverage of the NFC Championship Game and will have exclusive coverage the Super Bowl.
|Rank||Round||Date||Road team||Score||Home team||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV rating|
|1||NFC Championship||January 19, 2020, 6:40 ET||Green Bay Packers||20–37||San Francisco 49ers||Fox||42.8||22.0|
|2||AFC Championship||January 19, 2020, 3:05 ET||Tennessee Titans||24–35||Kansas City Chiefs||CBS||41.1||23.1|
|3||Divisional Round||January 12, 2020, 3:05 ET||Houston Texans||31–51||Kansas City Chiefs||CBS||35.4||20.3|
|4||Divisional Round||January 12, 2020, 6:40 ET||Seattle Seahawks||23–28||Green Bay Packers||Fox||37.2||20.0|
|5||Wild Card Round||January 5, 2020, 4:45 ET||Seattle Seahawks||17–9||Philadelphia Eagles||NBC||35.1||19.2|
|6||Wild Card Round||January 5, 2020, 1:05 ET||Minnesota Vikings||26–20 (OT)||New Orleans Saints||Fox||30.0||17.4|
|7||Wild Card Round||January 4, 2020, 8:25 ET||Tennessee Titans||20–13||New England Patriots||CBS||31.4||17.1|
|8||Divisional Round||January 11, 2020, 4:35 ET||Minnesota Vikings||10–27||San Francisco 49ers||NBC||29.3||16.6|
|9||Divisional Round||January 11, 2020, 8:15 ET||Tennessee Titans||28–12||Baltimore Ravens||CBS||29.4||16.0|
|10||Wild Card Round||January 4, 2020, 4:35 ET||Buffalo Bills||19–22 (OT)||Houston Texans||ABC/ESPN||26.3||15.2|
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